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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Miami Tennis Picks 2015 (March 31st)

Monday was something of a frustrating day with at least two picks that ended up being losers having a huge chance to win before they ultimately failed. The Jerzy Janowicz pick looked a poor one from the beginning of the match, but Milos Raonic and Flavia Pennetta should never have failed to cover.

Raonic won the first set 61 and was then up 54 in the second and serving for the match but somehow lost three games in a row and was then ultimately successful in a third set tie-break to miss the cover.

Flavia Pennetta had a 52 lead in the second set, one which would have made the 4.5 game head-start look too much for Simona Halep to overcome if she had won it, but lost five games in a row in a 63, 75 defeat.

The only positive was that the picks were not bad ones like the Janowicz pick and they both got into a position to win and that is much better than having no chance like the other losing pick on he day did.

Tomas Berdych - 3.5 games v Gael Monfils: Tomas Berdych is very fortunate to still be involved in the Miami Masters after just about seeing off Bernard Tomic in the Third Round and I expect him to ride that momentum through Gael Monfils in the Fourth Round.

It hasn't been the best tournament so far for Berdych as he has been sloppy in his first two matches, but there is room for improvement and he does match up fairly well against Gael Monfils. The latter hasn't played a lot of tennis of late, but the Frenchman has a couple of decent wins under his belt in the tournament so far, although this is another step up in competition than what he has faced.

Both players have a decent serve that should set up points, but I think Berdych is the more consistent player off the ground and is allowed to dictate the rallies by Monfils. We all know that Monfils will look to his athleticism to see him through, but he can't expect Berdych to make a lot of misses and ultimately that is the reason he has lost 4 of 5 matches against this opponent.

Monfils has arguably been playing better than Berdych this past week, but I think the latter is the better player and can work out some of his own issues in a 63, 76 win.

Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 games v Juan Monaco: How will Fernando Verdasco respond to beating Rafael Nadal in an emotional Third Round match? The last time he did this was at the Madrid Masters in 2012 which was the first time he had beaten Nadal and Verdasco was beaten 61, 62 in the next Round of that tournament.

It is difficult to raise your level again after the emotional high of a victory of the magnitude that Verdasco had over Nadal in the last Round, but it would be a huge surprise if Juan Monaco was to handily defeat the Spaniard.

This has already been a strong tournament for Monaco who barely survived in the First Round, but I do think Verdasco is the stronger hard court player. The Monaco serve will give Verdasco chances to break serve, but Monaco will feel he can win a lot of the points that see the rallies extended and so it will be a tough battle that could potentially go three sets.

However, I think Verdasco's power will prove to be the difference in a 63, 46, 64 win and a place in the Quarter Finals.

David Ferrer - 3.5 games v Gilles Simon: If you like long, tough rallies when you watch your tennis, this is the kind of Fourth Round match that should be right up your street.

Both David Ferrer and Gilles Simon rely on their ability to get a lot of balls back in play to grind down opponents and neither has a serve that will intimidate the other so you can expect to see a lot of break points both ways.

It has been a good 2015 for both players to this point of the season as both have added titles and been in good form. Neither was that effective in Indian Wells last week, but I think there is slightly more to like about Ferrer in this one.

The Spaniard is slightly stronger physically than Simon and I think his forehand is the biggest shot off the ground in this contest. While Simon will have his success too, I think this will come down to what Ferrer produces and he has played well enough over the past week to think he can come through 63, 75.

Kei Nishikori - 4.5 games v David Goffin: Kei Nishikori was very happy with his performance against Victor Troicki on Monday as he dismissed the challenge of the Serb very easily and I think he will be a little too good for David Goffin too.

Goffin is a player that showed how good he can be during the summer months of 2014 but he has been a little inconsistent in the start of this season and even his run here in Miami, but Nishikori presents another level up in terms of competition.

Before this tournament, Goffin has been having a more difficult time and I think Nishikori is going to expose any doubts that may still be lingering in the Belgian player's mind by getting a lot of balls back in play. Nishikori can also turn defence into attack very quickly and his speed around the court will force Goffin to go for a little more than he perhaps would like.

It could be a fun match to watch, but one I believe Nishikori comes through with a 63, 64 win.

Karolina Pliskova v Andrea Petkovic: Both of these players are very solid and will give each other plenty to think about as they face one another, but I think Karolina Pliskova has a little more about her game which will give her the edge in the Quarter Final.

The serve is a definite strength of Pliskova and I think that will set her up to hold more often than Petkovic which basically is what the match could boil down to.

The German is very good off the ground with plenty of consistency, but Pliskova has the heavier shots and that might force Petkovic backwards.

The layers haven't been able to separate these players easily, but Pliskova is the favourite and I believe she will confirm that is the correct decision by coming through this one.

Venus Williams - 2.5 games v Carla Suarez Navarro: I've spoken about my respect for Carla Suarez Navarro and the form she has produced on the tennis court over the last eighteen months and her three wins in Miami have been very good.

The Spaniard has become a regular name in the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Finals of tournaments through 2015, but I think she does hit the wall a little bit at this level and Venus Williams has been playing very well. Aside from her choke in the second set against Sam Stosur, Venus Williams has been very good this week too and I think she has a little more about her game which gives her the edge in this match.

Williams has to be at her best though as shown by the fact that four previous matches between these players have been split two apiece and the American has lost at least a set in three of those matches.

If Williams serves well, I think it will be tough for Suarez Navarro whose own serve continues to be the weakness that prevents her from really going all the way in tournaments. The key for the Spaniard will be to get into prolonged backhand to backhand exchanges, but Williams can get up to the net and has the power to perhaps overwhelm Suarez Navarro in a 63, 57, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Victor (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Karolina Pliskova @ 1.73 Coral (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 2.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Miami Update: 20-13, + 10.26 Units (66 Units Staked, + 15.55% Yield)

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